Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith recently spoke about putting the punk in Cyberpunk 2077, noting that “it’s bad out there but you can handle it – if you’re badass enough.”
The news comes from a recent report published by Red Bull on the music of Cyberpunk 2077, in which Pondsmith discussed the way punk music directly influenced the creation of his dystopian universe.
“It’s not just the philosophical attitude of the punk scene and it’s not just the music,” Pondsmith said. “Everything about punk inspired Cyberpunk originally. There is an inherent type of personal rebellion that is so specific to punk, and that’s what inspired me most.”
“Listen to Sex Pistols and at a certain point you’ll realise it’s not about them talking about the world, it’s about how they relate to the world at their level,” he added. “That’s important. Their anthem isn’t ‘let’s save the world, we’re all friends,’ it’s ‘you got in my face motherf***er’ followed by a headbutt.”
It seems obvious once you hear Pondsmith discuss it – this is a world where rebellion is an inherent part of life. Corporate megastructures tower over dilapidated streets far below them, and the only way to bridge that gap is to emphatically lean into the “punk” side of Cyberpunk.
The manifestation of punk rock in Cyberpunk 2077 is depicted by its in-game band, Samurai, who are played by real-life punk band Refused.
“Being punk has always meant being the outsiders,” Refused lead singer Dennis Lyxzén told Red Bull. “You come in from the outside, armed with an anti-establishment sentiment. That’s the main thing we wanted to keep for Samurai, as well as this DIY aspect of punk rock, which I think fits in with this whole future Cyberpunk 2077 is going for.”
Pondsmith goes on to note that when he originally wrote Cyberpunk, he wanted it to realize people’s impressions of what “badass” would look like in a dystopian future.
“And I’m gonna do that in a context where you’re not superhuman,” he said. “The fantasy I intended was ‘it’s bad out there, but you can handle it… if you’re badass enough.’ That’s punk, and that’s the role-playing I wanted to get out of people: the attitude, the nerve to face off against this future.”